Two girls, one black, the other white, flee from the South to the North in a novel set during the Civil War. Reprint. H. PW. K.
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``My heart was going in sixteen different directions. But my body was going North.'' In this subtle, powerful novel, Susannah, a teenage orphan reluctantly transplanted from Vermont to Virginia, and Bethlehem, the slave assigned to her, decide to escape together. The two young women, who alternate as narrators, have very different points of view: to Susannah, teaching her slave to read is merely a project; in leaving her stern uncle's farm, she runs only the risk of being brought back. For Bethlehem, both the reading and the running are deadly dangerous--but the potential rewards are beyond price. Working together despite the gulf between them (after they watch a battered group of stolen slaves shuffle past, Bethlehem reacts fiercely: ``You don't know,'' she says through tears, ``you can't ever know''), the two forge a bond that lasts even after they go their separate ways, one to a comfortable life in Vermont, the other to a teaching career in Toronto. Decades later, they are reunited in Bethlehem's slum apartment, where she is on her deathbed, and tell their story to two young counterparts: Susannah's naive granddaughter, and Bethlehem's angry nurse. In the telling, the strong cast reacts and interacts in complex ways, each forced to consider new ideas and reexamine memories and preconceptions. A distinctive tale of courage and sacrifice, with no glib lessons or easy resolutions but a memorable portrait of a soul for whom freedom is the greatest prize. (Fiction. 11-15) -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From School Library Journal :
Grade 5-8-- The title comes from a spiritual used as a signal to slaves that the time had come for them to make a run for freedom. Susannah, 13, thinks about such matters in the abstract until the year her parents die and she is taken to Virginia to live with her uncle's family. She believes that slavery is wrong, and matters are made worse when she is given a slave, Bethlehem. Susannah befriends her, teaches her to read, and then asks her help getting back to Vermont. While the story line is occasionally unrealistic--the girls have much too easy a time running north, for example--its strength lies in its unstinting examination of emotions. Bethlehem deals with her hatred of slavery, her resentment of the white girl, and her need to go on to Canada rather than to stay with Susannah, now a friend. Susannah must come to terms with her feelings about the black race. And her granddaughter, to whom the story is told, finds her own eyes opened and her prejudices exposed. Characterization of the main heroines is sound, although the secondary players never come to life. Despite the facile surface, the issues explored in this book run deep. When read with William Katz's Breaking the Chains (Atheneum, 1990), this will go a long way toward explicating the damage done by slavery. --Ann Welton, Thomas Academy, Kent, WA
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Description du livre Scholastic Paperbacks, 1993. Paperback. État : New. N° de réf. du libraire DADAX0590469215
Description du livre Scholastic Paperbacks, 1993. Paperback. État : New. Never used!. N° de réf. du libraire P110590469215